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A powerful literacy tool: For the first 10 years, you're the smartest person your child knows.

by Babs Hadjusiewicz May 29, 2009

This Free-for-All Friday finds me in sunny southern California visiting Kiera's school. If you don't know the back story of my trip here, view last Friday's post in this blog. CA map There, you'll find a song to sing with your child. About a rainbow. You'll learn how two cultures describe rainbows. And, relatedly, you'll see a rainbow-covered cornfield that sits next to my birth home in Indiana. You'll also meet 7 yr old Kiera face-to-face. Before I head off for a day of literacy fun with Kiera and her fellow Lilac Lizards, let's stimulate a whole lot of THINKing and TALKing today with your child...and explore this question Kiera's teacher posed: "Where do you get all those ideas you write about?" First, let's THINK about your child who is...or is destined to become...a fabulous reader and prolific writer. How do I know that about your child's present/future literacy skills? I know because you are tuning in to this blog each day. You're looking to learn yet another easy, fun, practical, and doable literacy tip you can put to use while spending time with your child. At-home time. In-the-car time. At-appointments time. Wherever-time. WOW! Your child will be a super reader and writer because you are TALK-TALK-TALKing together. You're TALKing with your child because you know that TALKing spreads a rich buffet of language and knowledge. And you know that TALKing ensures that your child can choose to own all that language and knowledge you own. You also know that it doesn't matter whether you, the parent, left formal schooling in 8th grade or went on to earn graduate degrees. To your child, your bank of knowledge is what it is...HUGE. And all you need to do is THINK and TALK in order to share with your child every morsel of knowledge you own...every word and every idea embedded in each word. Your own bank of language and knowledge comes from your own life experiences. And your child wants to hear it all! So, on this Free-for-All Friday, let's extend on the THINKing and TALKing we've been doing this week...and respond to Kiera's teacher Jeri's question of how writers get ideas. Like for most writers, life experiences present me with more ideas than I could ever write about in a lifetime. In my roles as a parent and a teacher, I've recognized how one's life experiences cause us to form ideas and values and opinions...about ourselves and others. WOW! THINK about that powerful fact. And how it follows that the more we TALK and READ about ideas with kids, the more choices kids have as they're forming their own ideas, their values, and their opinions about themselves and others.squirrel pic2 Another fact: Writers know there is more than one way to tell a story. Otherwise, how would it be that thousands of writers have written in thousands of ways on any one topic, such as Abe Lincoln or dinosaurs! So, here's a fun way to stimulate THINKing and cause a whole lot of TALKing with your child today. Take any experience the two of you are sharing. Have you sighted a squirrel? Are you searching for a missing shoe? Are you cleaning up a milk spill? Okay, how might you tell that life-experience story? Will you begin with words, such as "Once upon a time..." or "Neither of us could find it..." or "And there it was!" WOW! There are tons of ways to begin, aren't there. So, while the two of you are marveling, searching, or cleaning up, start TALKing to name different ways your story of this shared life experience might begin. By the time you two have TALKed a few beginnings, guess what? WOW! You'll be on to yet another life experience to TALK about. Then at another time or on another day, TALK some of the many middles or endings a shared life-experience story might include. WOW! Look at yourselves there...just living life...and all the while helping your child TALK toward becoming an incredibly imaginative writer. Or a super reader who reads to comprehend...that is, can pick out in a flash the beginning, middle, or ending of a story or article. Yes, writers live life, TALK about it, and then write from those very life experiences! Tune in here on Funday Monday for another literacy tip...tied, no doubt, to some tales of my life experiences with the Lilac Lizards. WOW!


Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz

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